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Posted 25 Jan 2019, 4:07 a.m.

Judge: Will

Artist: Flatworm

Musicianship/Skill - 4.5

Guitar: Awesome feel. Getting harmonics on emphasised notes.

Bass: Gets that clarity with the fingers and power on low B. Ornamental notes are well chosen.

Drummer: Knows his shit. Confident masterful performance.

Professionalism - 4

Fuck off this is your first show (praise).

Best guitar tone I have heard so far.

You tune audibly but you do it well.

Songwriting - 3.5

1st song: Massive riff, changes nicely as it progresses. Interesting variation later in the song.

2nd song: Has a cool groove but the solo is too early. This felt more like a jam, but it held my attention.

3rd song: More like a song than the last.

Creativity - 3

Not mad creative but you do what you do professionally. There's an interesting mix of genres here, grunge, rock, prog.

Stage Presence/Entertainment Value - 3.5

Crowd address - works well. You are into your playing and sometimes that is all you need to have that presence.

Overall - 18.5/25

Very strong set. They do the basics well and the finishing touches even better. There needs to be some backing in here, and perhaps even a focal point. Overall a strong performance.

Rank: 1st

Judge: Will

Artist: Culture Blood

Musicianship/Skill - 3.5

Drums: Directing the rest of the parts with powerful assured playing.

Guitar: Loud, playing simple but effective. Serves music.

Bass: Nice tone! Notes high up the neck give a nice sub-bass effect to audience.

Professionalism - 4

Reverse psychology - love it.

-Bass vox looks unsure in some of the verses in 1st song.

-Get a new guitar bro, treat yourself. YOU NEED ONE.

-Don't talk over each other. You can coordinate that shit more.

Songwriting - 3.5

1st song - Interesting noise, not entirely memorable songwriting.

2nd song - Semi clean guitar is nice change in dynamic - two vocal type in chorus sounds big!

3rd song - Nice choppy melody on first riff - consistency lost when band kicks in.

4th song - Striking guitar shrieks at start. Following riff needs more nuance BUT driving drums are awesome!

Creativity - 3.5

You're putting driving drums behind noisy guitar and a bass line - that shows up now and again with some nice clanky things to say. You can be more creative with noise, which I liked but you fit well into a grunge rock genre. Vocals work but become distinctive in technical limitation. You are getting more points here but you'll have to tighten up that technique if you want to do this in 10 years time.

Stage Presence/Entertainment Value - 3.5

Strong performance. Guitarist gives it the high elbow into a stamping strum to hit home. Drummer is doing his job (well) and bassist pulls it together.

Overall - 18/25

A pulsating, grungey earthquake of a band. Some slips in time but the raw feel is hitting me. Some of the tonal choices and intervals are not to my taste but they are delivered with conviction and I like that shit. Enjoyable.

Rank: 2nd

Judge: Will

Artist: Max Ax

Musicianship/Skill - 4.5

Drums: I did think, I hope your groove is better than that wig. It is. But also that's easy.

Guitar: It's a lot but you can tell you're an awesome guitarist. It takes a lot to fill out the room as a lone guitarist (particularly with that many solos) but you get there.

Vox: Controlled rasp - works well in the genre.

Bass: Competent. No wow moments though - I don't think you need them.

Professionalism - 2.5

Drummer caught everyone off guard. 

I can't tell if this is a joke, but that's ok because it's well executed. Why are you talking like that?

I can't hear backing? I can see but not hear.

Ran over.

Songwriting - 2.5

Whilst you are all clearly strong musicians, this is where you fell down for me. Some of the sections change too much and don't fit with how the rest of the song is put together. You need big choruses to cancel out the nasty fashion choices.

Creativity - 3

Not doing anything unheard of. In fact most of the notable things of this act are notable because they remind that people actually did them. Some of the tapping caught my ear because of some nice note choices.

Stage Presence/Entertainment Value - 3

I still don't know if this is a joke? Leamington Spa? This mode of address doesn't sit right with me. Also please don't make love to me thanks mate.

Overall - 15.5/25

A stunning combination of technical competence and embarrassment. Awesome guitar and vocal tone struck me. Outfits and schtick less so.

Rank: 3rd

Judge: Will

Artist: Cyrene

Musicianship/Skill - 2

Guitar: Nice tone but some missed notes - good trem. 

Bass: Solid playing. You have that nice mid punch to your tone that helps you stand out.

Keys: Added a nice chimney texture to the start but you keep hitting wrong notes and it breaks the feel.

Drums: Good technique and stage presence. I think the whole unit needs a little more practice though.

Professionalism - 2

Is everyone here to see you? Fans are way more important than what I think, props.

Oh man you have a triangle player. All my colleagues at work want to play triangle in my band. The correct response is 'hah yeh'; humour them.

Songwriting - 2

Was that an intro? Guitar tone sounds good but it's as generic as hell. Adam and I have heard it before (we think).

Try mixing up rhythms or/and intervals to make it memorable. Last song is chaotic. Solos sound improvised - tie those notes down.

This could be way more organised.

Creativity - 1.5

You could do more with this set up. Keys give you so many options. But you went for the triangle. Sigh.

Stage Presence/Entertainment Value - 2

Bows for days.

Couldn't hear bassist vocals. It seems like that's how he wanted it to be. I look up and new members are on the stage - what? Announce them - make a thing of it! Enough people sound like they are here to see you.

Overall - 9.5/25

This feels like a good core of kind musicians who cannot say no to their friends joining. Be ruthless and embrace the crowd. There's potential here but it remains untapped tonight.

Rank: 4th

Posted 25 Jan 2019, 4:58 a.m.

Judge: The Thompson

Artist: Flatworm

Musicianship/Skill - 4.5

Drums: Very decent, utterly standout musician, timing on point.

Guitar/Vox: Guitar work is actually really great, vox often over-reaching which is disappointing. Poor diction and mic technique compounds the issue.

Bass: Very tight, locked in.

Band as a whole is very musically sound.

Professionalism - 3

Nice and tight. Great cohesion and feels like a proper act. Needed something to fill in the on-stage tuning time, gets a lot awks between songs 2 and 3. Just about long enough at 13:57.

Songwriting - 3

Song 1: Proper intro. Nice. Really fucking cool song actually. Maybe went on a bit long.

Song 2: Wanky guitars, bit of a mis-step after the 1st, bit jammy and less songy - needs honing.

Song 3: It may be emotional, but it's lost if we can't hear the lyrics, and we can't. Better than song 2 though.

Creativity - 3.5

Bit of a mix of styles - lighter vox passages mixed with chunkier dissonant breakdowns - I like it. Less fussed by the proggier bits, but it just about works. As set progressed though I started to feel like you've not quite found your sound and are still jamming. A year or two in though this'll be excellent.

Stage Presence/Entertainment Value - 3.5

Yeah this is a real band. Proper rockers wear Thrasher tees. Properly throwing down - very nice. Band intro was crap though - bin this. Between song banter isn't so strong, which is a pity.

Overall - 17.5/25

I wanted to really adore this, and at times I did. I'm afraid it's missing something though, and that thing is a real front person - let the (excellent) guitarist get on with it and get someone good to lead the show. With a real front person and a little more time getting the jams into songs, this will be the best Warwick band in years, and I don't say that lightly.

Rank: 1st

Judge: The Thompson

Artist: Culture Blood

Musicianship/Skill - 3

Drums: FUCKIN HULK SMASH. Ace. Odd timing drop, but tough beats.

Guitar/Vox: Some cool stuff on guitar, and mostly not sloppy. Vox are fairly strong, but you go a bit over the limit at times. I realise it's deliberate, but be careful. Guitar tones occasionally a bit fudgey.

Bass/Vox: Vox a bit all over and diction is crap, but pretty sure that's deliberate. I do like it. Bass is straight-forward, but fine.

Professionalism - 2

'This next song we can actually remember the lyrics'. Too in-jokey to be really professional, but I get that that's totally what you're going for. Zero fucks given, but this is totally genre appropriate if I'm honest. Although the occasional musical weakness is deliberate, I do think it tends to affect the overall professionalism.

Songwriting - 3.5

Song 1: Not a lot in the way of lyrical content, at least not that I can hear, but the structure and transitions are well put together.


Song 3: Technical riffery is rad.

Song 4: Yo, genre shift in a very good way.

Creativity - 4

Nice sound, and not a common one. It's well thought-through and well developed. Actually a bit reminiscent of these IDLES guys everyone is currently spaffing over, but I heard you do it first. Totally up my alley genre-wise. I'd still love to guest on that album. Nice sonic development through set.

Stage Presence/Entertainment Value - 4

Good level of presence on stage, and some nice moshery. Crowd (dis)engagement is bang on. Guitar often notably more lost in it than bass though. Nice end - fuck that guitar.

Overall - 16.5/25

Yeah, ok, I loved it. Work on the vox though gents - I really wanted to hear more of what you were on about, far too much lost in the dissonance.

Rank: Joint 2nd

Judge: The Thompson

Artist: Maximum Axiom

Musicianship/Skill - 4

Drums: Workman-like - very, very solid.

Guitar: Stupid, but masterfully played. Very good. Vox inaudible, keys totally unnecessary. 

Bass: Totally locked into the drums, holding it down. Nice.

Vox: Slightly less good than what you're going for tonally, but diction is good despite vocal distortion and tuning is decent. Clear vox much better.

Professionalism - 3

A touch too much pre-gig fartery. Relatively pro comic pub act otherwise. Bass occasionally a little over-powering. 

Very well rehearsed despite jokey nature - I think this leaves you lost between a serious band and a complete joke. It didn't make me laugh. 

Over-ran by just a bit too much.

Songwriting - 3.5

Intro: Ok, left me wanting more.

Drugs: Mildly amusing lyrical content. Well put together as a song.

Song 2: Standard ballady fare into sketchy transition to fast bit. Muh.

Song 3: Yup, I am very uninspired this is more of the same.

Creativity - 1.5

Ground that couldn't be more well trodden if a herd of elephants started dancing on it, but the set is well constructed and lyrics are better than most. Set is well put together but it's hard to find anything I didn't hear in last year's 3 hour GnR set at download, and I didn't watch the 2 hours in the middle.

Stage Presence/Entertainment Value - 4.5

Those outfits are fucking sinful. I bet Sandra is devastated right now. Great 80's faces, but, I think you could have committed to it some more - if you're going to go for joke band, you really have to go deep. Crowd interaction is generally strong, and you're fairly rocking.

Overall - 16.5/25

Too much of a joke for me to take it seriously, too serious for me to laugh - Guns and Roses in 2019, or the next Tenacious D, you gotta pick one. Bashing aside, I did enjoy it.

Rank: Joint 2nd

Judge: The Thompson

Artist: Cyrene

Musicianship/Skill - 3.5

Drums: Nice dynamics, very sound. Timing held in fills, good.

Keys: A few bum notes.

Guitar: Simple and occasionally mis-strummed. Better through set.

Bass/Vox: Very very good, absolutely locked into drums to create an excellent rhythm section. Vox totally lost.

Triangle: Having a laugh are you bro?

Vox: Flat and nasal, often over-reaching at the bottom end of your range.

Professionalism - 1.5

Yup, kick drum still works. Wobbly start...Hit that standby button bro.

Very well rehearsed, pity it was in bits before it started. Decent job picking it back up, but not sure you ever fully recovered.

Faded off, awful buzz as you left. Time was filled though.

Songwriting - 1

Song 1: Definitely heard this before...We can't remember where though. Good song mind.

Song 2: Not as good as song 1 and lyrics lost. Triangle is definitely superfluous. Weak end.

Song 3: A bit all over, lost it in the big bit at the end.

Song 4: This one was pants. Did you just put it in to fill the spare time?

Creativity - 2

A bit 'shall we start a prog band?' 'Yeah, cool!'. It tries to go places a lot, but generally just feels like it rattles on. Individual riffs and sections are actually really great, but they're lost in a poorly thought-through set that always sits around the 4/10 mark. Rework your structures and build in some more, well, building to the set.

Stage Presence/Entertainment Value - 1.5

Triangle/Vox - where did they come from? Interaction with crowd is weak to absent. The audience isn't sure what's going on most of the time - a bit like they're all stuck at a check-in desk in an airport where no-one speaks their language.

Overall - 9.5/25

Hmm. Occasional glimmers of gold within an ocean of brown - some truly excellent ideas, but it needs a rethink into the studio to craft it into something great - I really look forward to hearing it next year!

Rank: 4th

Posted 25 Jan 2019, 5:45 a.m.

Judge: Joe

Artist: Tapeworm

Musicianship/Skill - 4.5

Guitar: Here we go! Your guitar work is huge in the main riffs. Exceptionally good control over your tone - fantastic.

Drums: 'Here's a drummer'. Tight as hell, reliable fills, thrasher shirt, fuck shit up.

Vox: The main weak point here - in key, in time, but it can't compare to the band. Poor diction, no character.

Bass: That perfect level of background and interesting - only cuts through when he needs to - misses a couple of drum stabs but not dangerously.

-0.5 for vocals!

Professionalism - 4.5

On smoothly enough - awkward transition to 3rd song.

Perfectly clean ending.

Songwriting - 4

Song 1: Wow! Great riffs brilliantly played into a solid structure and...is this bass groove the end?

Bass Groove: Fuck yeah! Great tone control, kinda awkward talk intro. Beautiful guitar soloing here - excellent tone control into fantastic passages.

Next Song: Chorus would be catchier if I knew what you were saying.

Creativity - 4

You know it's good when I call it a passage instead of a solo - unstoppable groove combined with outlandish guitar.

Here's the down-low: It's a great instrumental project - drop the vox!

Stage Presence/Entertainment Value - 3.5

Really solid intro - matters a lot. Naturally, it tanks during singing passages - I want more from bass while he's doing that.

Overall - 20.5/25

Sorry vocals but you need to go.

Instrumental or grab a frontman - it's great but can be improved a lot!


Rank: 1st

Judge: Joe

Artist: Maxi Axi

Musicianship/Skill - 4

Keys: Tone is really weak, nothing wrong with playing but it's simple chords that are so overbearing that it becomes jarring.

Vox: Absolutely on point, incredible glam tone; falsetto is the only bit I can even think about criticising - even then it is completely under control.

Bass: Great volume control through quiet sections.

Guitar: Masturbatory - you just cummed in my face and I loved it (clean tone could be refined but playing is excellent).

Drums: Solid, not pushing any boundaries; definitely weak in such a technically intensive setting.

Professionalism - 4

On sloppy; I could believe arrogant if not for tuning.

You do push the boundaries of taking the piss - guitar needs to sort himself out quietly between songs.

Sloppy finish - never let the guitarist talk!

Overtime deducts marks.

Songwriting - 4

Song 1: Sloppy saved by huge vocals into excellent guitar, an enjoyable pisstake, tight solos.

Keys Song: Keys would be better replaced by guitar. Vocal refrains are enormous.

Last Song: Strong riffs.

Creativity - 3

It's a parody band but fuck me it's a good'un. Usually you can recognise what's being ripped off but here it's fun as fuck - enough original to not be entirely derivative.

Stage Presence/Entertainment Value - 5

Before you've started, +2 for dangerous levels of swagger. Cocaine every day.

Excellent movement on stage by all members, vocals and guitar fucking defining a 5/5.

Overall - 20/25

Drop keys - get a backing guitar instead; you'll be better than Steel Panther - the band needs someone to fill the frequency range when pretty boy is soloing.

Rank: 2nd

Judge: Joe


Musicianship/Skill - 3.5

Vox Harsh: Tone is fantastic for disgusting screech, just needs more volume - more chest less throat.

Vox: Distorted as hell at start, picks up later - sounds like shit but it fits.

Guitar: Bad tone holds you back in a lot of places, but when clean it's clear you're playing very technically in some sections. Rhythmically reliable and beefy but not overly sloppy.

Drums: Beefy simple start, leading into tight fills.

Bass: Beefy fitting in with drums, with enough twang to stand out. Solidly played.

Professionalism - 4.5

On smoothly, lot of fuzz between songs; but very well managed banter covering retuning, lacklustre banter after song 2. Ending was great.

Songwriting - 3

Song 1: Indecipherable guitar and vocals leave me with just drums and hyper-bend guitar noise - short and boring.

Song 2: More like it: diminished as shit denigration of tropes, as miserables as it deserves - actually emotive behind the facade.

Song 3: More of the same.

Song 4: Incredibly beefy drums/bass, more generic guitar/vox but feels natural.

Creativity - 3

Song 1 was a waste, song 1 was a mess. Really picks up after though; sounds like thought has been put into the filthy heavy breaks punctuated by mopey miserable bullshit actually coming together into an insight into the miserable minds of the men wearing masks.

Stage Presence/Entertainment Value - 4

You look the part and guitar drunkenly stumbles about with all the confusion your music entails - bass looks boring on stage, too afraid to run away from the mic.

Holy shit that ending was deserving of a bigger stage.

Overall - 18/25

The musical equivalent of strongbow dark fruits; miserable, unhealthy and makes you vomit but at the end of the day it tastes alright.

Rank: 3rd

Judge: Joe

Artist: Cyrene

Musicianship/Skill - 2.5

Triangle: Fuck off.

F. Vox: Nasal, not cutting through and hard to understand - very simple lines, not impressive.

Drums: Struggling to lock in the band's timing - impressive fills aren't impressive if the band isn't in time and it is your problem. Improves in later songs (a lot!).

Keys: Not cutting through greatly - until you do and it is jarring.

Bass: Bass first vox second eh? Your bass playing is tight, fits right in nicely - vox bad.

Guitar: Can clearly play well - maybe very well, but often at odds with the band - especially in clean section.

Professionalism - 1

Very slow start - 45 seconds of blue balls (maybe more!) (standby is no excuse).

Sloppy between songs, awkward confused faces. 

Lots of pops and awkwardness between songs - very AWKWARD (that's how bad!). Fucking abysmal EMP exit.

Songwriting - 2

Song 1: Sounds very familiar already!

Song 2: Chill repetition is nice, if uninteresting.

Song 3: Holistically fits well; a nice piece tonally.

Creativity - 3

Song 1: Sounded like a cover.

Song 2: Tonally interesting at times - structurally rhythmically not.

Song 3: Again rhythmically tame, like a jam session.

Song 4: More of the same - it's nice.

Stage Presence/Entertainment Value - 2

'Dress to Impress' - more effort than Maxi! Nothing else entertaining.

Alright, you've got the triangle audience +1.

Overall - 10.5/25

Tonally interesting but not interesting enough to have so little structure and vocal interplay. Don't stop! But think a lot more about writing a structured song.

Rank: 4th

Posted 25 Jan 2019, 5:49 a.m.

Final Scores

1st Flatworm (1+1+1=3)

2nd Maximum Axiom (3+2.5+2=7.5)

3rd Culture Blood (2+2.5+3=7.5)

4th Cyrene (4+4+4=12)

Tiebreak between 2nd and 3rd was decided via judges' decision.

Posted 25 Jan 2019, 5:58 a.m.

My thoughts:

Flatworm - Fuck me you guys came out of the blue - everyone was caught by surprise, absolutely incredible. Singing is out of place and unnecessary though, would be far more interesting as just an instrumental group I feel. Drummer knocked me out the fucking park.

Maximum Axiom - Most enjoyable set of the night in my opinion - honestly didn't mind the keys. Guitar and bass could have maybe bust out some more 80's moves to make the joke more clear, but musically everything was on point. Luke, stop stealing mics on stage.

Culture Blood - Really enjoyed the set, especially the ending, but it wasn't your best - you were rusty and it showed. Very disappointed we didn't get to hear the Pierre diss track.

Cyrene - Some promising stuff. Ditch your triangle-player (sorry but he added literally nothing). Vocals need a lot of work especially, but with more gig experience this could be really good. Drummer looks like he's out to prove a point, you don't have to go all out with every fill - overplaying instead of serving the music, thereby compromising on tightness, which is a shame cause you're clearly talented.

I should probably go to bed.

Posted 25 Jan 2019, 6:59 a.m.

triangle lol 

Posted 25 Jan 2019, 7:52 a.m.

nah wtf you all saying? Justice for triangle guy

Posted 25 Jan 2019, 8:05 a.m.

Big thanks to the judges for ignoring the accidental matching guitar situation regarding Luke from maxaxi and myself. 

Great minds think alike I guess. 

Posted 25 Jan 2019, 9:52 a.m.

On a more serious note nice to see new blood into the final. Sounds like they are promising and just require some refinement.

Posted 25 Jan 2019, 10:18 a.m.

for Cyrene that really dissonant song (maybe the 3rd?) had so much potential if you guys whacked that distortion up and made it LOUD. I loved that riff. (also I’m with Neil that triangle player needs to go - sorry)